This month's blogging carnival is about Holiday Meals and Traditions around the World. I wanted to write about this topic because my husband always teases me that American Christmas's are boring. Even with all the hub-bub he's still convinced a Peruvian Christmas is way more fun that how we celebrate in the U.S. and Christmas dinner is just one example.
In Peru Christmas happens on Christmas Eve. The family has dinner around 9 or 10, with the "required" food being turkey, paneton and hot chocolate. His family always has canned peaches and homemade applesauce, but he says some people have tamales or beans or other food, but even the poorest of the poor have hot chocolate and paneton on Christmas. Gifts are opened at midnight and then extended family, neighbors, friends start visiting, hopping from house to house for an all-night, all-ages party!
I told him that the real reason Peruvian Christmas are such a great party is that it's summer there, but honestly Latinos know how to party!
Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) is the big celebration time in Puerto Rico too as Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes shares. Their meal includes roasted pig, arroz con gandulas, sauted green bananas, flan and more! I love that their celebration is also with extended families.
In the U.S. what I think of as traditional Christmas dinner is usually just the nuclear family, though families that live close might get together. The food is similar to a U.S. Thanksgiving: turkey (or ham), mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, a variety of veggie sides, often some cranberry something and lots and lots of pie. We have it sometime in the afternoon of Christmas day. I know this isn't everyone's tradition since the U.S. is such a blend of people from different countries with different traditions. In my "new" family with my husband we take some from the U.S. tradition (no all night parties Christmas Eve) and some of my husband's. We definitely always have paneton, I learned that lesson after he drove all around town Christmas Eve to find a place that sold it our first Christmas together.
All Done Monkey shares a healthy variation of the U.S. and European tradition of making gingerbread houses. Her version with dried fruit and nuts is significantly different from what I remember making as a kid - my only goal was to get as much candy on as possible so I could eat it all later! I thought it was fun to see how, like so many Americans, she is finding ways to select and adapt winter traditions for her family even if they don't include everything (they don't do Santa).
Creative World of Varya shares how their toddler group made fortune cookies for Spring Festival (usually called Chinese New Year in the U.S.). Even though these were made for an Asian festival, she shared how fortune cookies actually originated in the U.S. with Chinese immigrants. With immigration from so many places the U.S. it's no surprise that new traditions sprung up here.
Germany and Latvia
Let the Journey Begins shares how she'll be combining traditions from her Latvian side and her husband's German side (where she now lives). It sounds like the meal will be mostly Latvian, though fortunately they share a lot of similar food traditions, but she'll skip a few of the more complicated Latvian gift-receiving traditions for the sake of her in-laws. I love bringing traditions together since that's what our family is all about!